Routine stretching at the end of the day has been a goal of mine off and on for the last few years. The fact that doing a split hasn’t necessarily been my goal could be the reason that I’ve been unsuccessful in making it a habit.

In other words, the lack of a measurable outcome could be undercutting my level of commitment. But there may be something else. I don’t see stretching as absolutely necessary. I’m sure it’s wrong to think that, but the fact that there is debate hasn’t helped.

The truth is I shouldn’t care if others find stretching unnecessary. I sprained my knee in my late teens, and I know that a concentrated stretch of my hamstrings decreases the tightness I feel around that knee right after a run.

Regardless of whether a good stretch is beneficial before and after a run (or any other time), I would like to be more limber for more general physical benefits. Increased flexibility–including the ability to touch my toes–and one day being able to do a split sounds appealing to me. Okay, the split less so.

I used to attend a yoga class at a YMCA with some frequency and felt better for it. However, it’s quite possible that I failed to achieve the kind of results that would lead to sustaining a habit. It might be that my beginning flexibility level was so poor that even modest improvements were perceived as less than impressive.

Stretching is a goal that I plan to return to even if it’s relegated to five minutes or less at the end of each evening. If I stick with it, I may find that becoming flexible is like taking on any new skill. There can be a steep learning curve, but the results are worth it.

Photo: Katee Lue